’s RAINN Benefit Album & Fundraising Campaign Official Launch!’s RAINN benefit album & fundraising campaign officially launches this month! Donate $10 (or more) at’s fundraising page to receive your free digital album of for RAINN. This magnificent 25-mp3 album features: Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano, Sandman author Neil Gaiman, Midlake, Flogging Molly, Poe, My Brightest Diamond, The Mynabirds, The Voice‘s Kat Robichaud, The Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer, Man of Steel‘s Allison Crowe, Nashville songwriter Trent Dabbs, Meursault, Elysian Fields, Pamela Means, Fisher, Catie Curtis, Anielle Reid, Heidi Saperstein, Hannah Fury and poets Crystal Good, Kevin Kantor, and Clementine von Radics.
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Press Release:’s RAINN Benefit Album (Johnette Napolitano, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Poe, Flogging Molly, My Brightest Diamond & more!)

Johnette Napolitano, Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, Poe, Flogging Molly and My Brightest Diamond among artists on’s RAINN benefit album

To celebrate 15 years of sharing great music in July, has partnered with for a fundraising campaign and digital benefit album of music, poetry and art. for RAINN features music and poetry by Concrete Blonde’s Johnette Napolitano, The Dresden Dolls’ Amanda Palmer, My Brightest Diamond, Poe, The Mynabirds, Celtic Punk band Flogging Molly, The Voice‘s Kat Robichaud, Man of Steel‘s Allison Crowe, Nashville songwriter Trent Dabbs, Sandman author Neil Gaiman, YouTube sensation Kevin Kantor and Ted Talker Crystal Good among many other talented musicians, poets and visual artists.

Cover Art by Muruch, Image ©Kate Zambrano

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Call for Music, Poetry & Art Submissions for RAINN Benefit Album

Submissions are now closed & the album press release is up.

Muruch is curating a nonprofit, digital album of music, spoken word poetry and art to benefit RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network organization and National Sexual Assault helpline founded by singer Tori Amos.

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Muruch’s Top 25 Albums of 2011

This year’s top album list pretty much assembled itself throughout the year. The top 4 in particular are albums I expect to continue to listening to over and over for years to come. Click on the album titles to read the full reviews, purchase the albums, and, in some cases, download mp3s…

Muruch’s Top 25 Albums of 2011

25. Bell X1: Bloodless Coup

…turns the band’s signature blend electro-pop and rock up a notch

Buy @ Amazon

Hey Anna Lena by Bell X1

24. The Good Natured: Skeleton

…combine catchy electro-pop with airy dream-pop….What sets The Good Natured’s songs apart is the occasional splash of exotic strings or thunderous, syncopated beats. I’m enjoying this album immensely.

Buy @ Amazon

23. Shona Foster: The Moon & You

…moody piano melodies with subtle instrumental and vocal flourishes

Buy @ Amazon

Shona Foster – The Moon & You (Sampler) uploaded by Beach Hut Records

22. Mediaeval Baebes: Illumination

…churns the all-female vocal ensemble’s signature Gothic choir sound with even more exotic instrumentation, faster tempos and fiercer wails….brimming with dark drama, intoxicating rhythms and haunting choral harmonies

Buy @ Amazon

21. The Decemberists: The King is Dead

…From the opening blast of harmonica through the finale, The Decemberists have woven layers of delicate instrumentation and poetic lyrics into even the most buoyant and infectious song on this album.

Buy @ Amazon

20. Driftwood Fire: How to Untangle a Heartache

…truly a delight…airy pop-folk songs…”Appalachian Hills” is the album’s biggest stunner. The haunting folk ballad explores the beautiful landscape and horrific racism in the Shenandoah valley during and after the Civil War.

Buy @ Amazon

19. Zola Jesus: Conatus

…dark and entrancing pop songs…slinky beats, a chilling trill of piano and Zola’s haunting multi-layered howls make “Vessel” absolutely hypnotic.

Buy @ Amazon

18. Lykke Li: Wounded Rhymes

…Quirky, moody, syncopatedly rhythmic, femme electro-pop and indie-rock

Buy @ Amazon

Youth Knows No Pain by LykkeLi

Unrequited Love by LykkeLi

17. Patrick Wolf: Lupercalia

…marries the electro-pop of his recent releases with the eccentric troubadour style of his early albums, then takes things a step beyond with classical strings, big brass and a newfound lyrical optimism.

Buy @ Amazon

16. Matraca Berg: The Dreaming Fields

…the music on this album is exquisite and the songs examine deeper, darker themes than are typically found in the modern country-pop era

Buy @ Amazon

15. The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow

…a gorgeous, intimate blend of pretty pop melodies and sparsely atmospheric folk with an occassional punch of rowdy country-blues.

Buy @ Amazon

The Civil Wars – Barton Hollow (mp3)*

14. Company of Thieves: Running from a Gamble

…Lead singer Genevieve Schatz’ voice is distinctively strong and pretty, and the band’s pop-rock songs are far more catchy and lyrically substantial than anything on the radio…one of those albums I like more with each listen.

Buy @ Amazon

Company of Thieves – Modern Waste (mp3)*

13. Zaz

…The poor kid must be sick of the comparisons, but what else can I say here? This little gem of an album sounds like Edith Piaf singing modern, slightly quirky, jazz and pop tunes. I adore it…There really are no weak tracks on the album, the intricacies and charm of the arrangments are a perfect match for Zaz’ superb and distinctive voice.

Buy @ Amazon

12. Imelda May: Mayhem

…adds just enough modern rock noise to Imelda’s signature growling rockabilly sound to make it interesting without losing the retro style that makes her music so charming.

Buy @ Amazon

11. Sarah Slean: Land and Sea

…grand in scope and beautifully complex, yet one of the most irresistibly accessible collections I’ve ever heard. This magnificent new song cycle finds Sarah taking pop, folk, rock and classical to places they’ve never been before.

Buy @ Amazon

Sarah Slean – Amen by muruch

10. Flogging Molly: Speed of Darkness

…more of a American rock musical sound than the seminal Celtic punk band’s previous efforts…a lyrically brilliant and sonically solid effort inspired by the U.S. economic collapse – particularly its harsh effect on Detroit’s factory workers.

Buy @ Amazon

9. Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears: Scandalous

…gives these brilliant musicians some new opportunities to show off their substantial skills…”You Been Lyin’” is the best, most exciting collaboration any album ever had. The quaking duet with “Dallas gospel funk band” The Relatives sounds like The Staples Singers and George Clinton jamming with The Darkness.

Buy @ Amazon

8. Lia Ices: Grown Unknown

…The album’s brilliance lies in Lia’s unusual use of instrumental embellishments to punch up her otherwise gentle melodies…Lia’s beautiful voice makes even the most basic ballad absolutely stunning.

Buy @ Amazon

Lia Ices – Daphne (mp3)*
Lia Ices – Grown Unknown (mp3)*

7. Eva Cassidy: Simply Eva

…previously unreleased material by the late, great Eva Cassidy…composed entirely of acoustic versions of Eva’s best known recordings. Accompanied only by the soft strum of her guitar, Eva’s extraordinary voice is beautifully displayed in this exquisite collection.

Buy @ Amazon

6. Tori Amos: Night of the Hunters

…One of the more impressive releases of 2011 so far, Night of the Hunters was an ambitious undertaking for Tori Amos and one that, despite its weaknesses, can be called a success. It’s also a definite step in the right direction for the songstress and has won my loyalty back after a decade of disillusionment.

Buy Night of the Hunters @ Amazon


Tori Amos: Sin Palabras (Night of the Hunters Instrumental)

…Sin Palabras has all of the strengths of Night Of Hunters, yet none of the weaknesses…gorgeous instrumental version illuminates all of the intricacies and nuances of the arrangements. The brilliance of Tori’s piano playing, as well as that of her accompanying orchestra musicians, is put on full display.

Buy Sin Palabras @ Amazon (only $4.99!)

5. Florence + the Machine: Ceremonials

…has almost Seraphic reverence to its bombast. And Florence Welch’s unearthly wails remain unparalleled and mesmeric.

Buy @ Amazon

4. Heather Nova: 300 Days at Sea

…Heather’s unusually gorgeous voice has always been the driving force in her songs, but her intricate layering of high energy pop-rock instrumentation with haunting folk melodies continues to put her music into a category of its own.

Buy @ Amazon

3. Alexis Marceaux: Orange Moon

…a brassed up brand of eerie indie-rock, melodic pop, delicate folk and the lightest hint of Zydeco…From her first wail in the mesmeric, churning, chill-producing opener, “Leila and the Orange Moon,” I knew I would love this album.

Buy @ Amazon

Orange Moon – Sneak Hear by AlexisMarceaux

2. The Sweetback Sisters: Lookin’ for a Fight

…a delightful nod to vintage Western swing, honky tonk and classic Nashville country…the whole album is a toe tappin’, hip shakin’ wonder. I expect it to be on my best of the year list come December.

Buy @ Amazon

1. Sonya Cotton: It is so

…I don’t recall ever having been so profoundly moved by an album. The lyrics read like classic poetry, full of beautiful, nature-evoking imagery and immense sorrow…Sonya’s broken heart is deeply embedded in the marrow of this spectacular album, as her personal loss intertwines with metaphors depicting the loss of natural habitat and sanctuary for animals in the wild. Such personal and universal themes coupled with lush, intricate arrangements must surely destine It is so to become a folk classic.

Buy @ Sonya’s Site

*all mp3s & streams uploaded by & posted w/ permission of artists, labels and/or their PR reps

Flogging Molly: Live at The Music Box, L.A., 6/6/11

Flogging Molly is my (Vic) favorite band, so I’m very jealous that Muruch’s L.A. reviewer Laura Foxworthy had the privilege of seeing them perform live at The Music Box (at The Henry Fonda Theater, a 1920s movie house converted into a music venue) on June 6th. Laura’s review of the concert follows…

There are days when the trappings of adulthood – routine and responsibilities, bills and deadlines – weigh me down and make me feel older than my years. Monday was one of those days. Yet there are also nights when the music is so loud and exhilarating, I find myself spinning around until I’m dizzy, feeling like a teenager again. Monday night was one of those nights.

Thrust up in the front pit of The Music Box, surrounded by sweat and singing and so many people, I found myself losing some of the baggage that comes with age and exhaustion, at least for a few hours, all thanks to Flogging Molly.

Oh my, what a difference a night makes.

Me and the crowd at The Music Box: sometimes we swayed, sometimes we screamed, and sometimes we became one united human entity. Every song, without exception, was a sing-a-long and every song had us moving.

The venue, an over-sized box of music (hence the title), felt more like an Irish pub than a concert hall. The smell of beer mingled with sweat as Irish-American band Flogging Molly called for us to drink up and scream out. Dave King’s command to “get your f$%*ing dancing shoes on!” sent shoes flying into the air.

The title track from Flogging Molly’s newly released album, Speed of Darkness, was the definite highlight of the night. My favorite moment was when the violinist and mandolin players rocked out like members of 1970’s-era Led Zeppelin or AC/DC. A mandolin player doing a guitar-solo type windmill is quite a sight to behold.

“The Seven Deadly Sins” was another crowd pleaser, especially when we were all invited to put our hands in the air and clap along. The floor vibrated so hard it felt like one of those infamous California earthquakes had hit and started the earth a-shaking. I found myself jumping up and down, shouting at the top of my lungs, my hair whipping around my face.

All the exhaustion of the day melted into a distant memory – I was an Irish, by way of Los Angeles, Pirate now!

Flogging Molly – Don’t Shut ‘Em Down (YouTube Video Link)

Muruch Album Review

Buy Album @ Amazon

Flogging Molly

Flogging Molly Official Site